Let’s not stand on ceremony here, the Minnesota Twins finally made an offseason addition.
No, the Twins didn’t go out and spend on a pitcher to replace Sonny Gray or flip Jorge Polanco and/or Max Kepler — they handed out a minor league deal to a once promising player they had already gotten ride of once.
The Twins signed former second round pick Niko Goodrum to a minor league contract on Friday, bringing him back to the place where his career started while giving a slight jab to the Detroit Tigers.
Goodrum spent last four seasons with the Tigers before fading with the Astros and then taking his talents to KBO. Keen Twins fans will remember that he actually made his Major League debut with Minnesota back in 2017 after being a top draft pick back in 2010.
He didn’t last long in Minnesota, though, and landed with the Tigers after the Twins DFA’d him after just a month. Goodrum showed some promise in Detroit, slashing .247/.318/.427 with 28 homers and 24 steals during his first two seasons. Things tapered off a bit after that but he started to bounce back last year during a successful stint with the Lotte Giants over in South Korea.
How does Niko Goodrum factor into the Twins plans for 2024?
We need to walk before we run with Goodrum, as he’s returning to the Twins on a minor league deal that might not amount to much of anything. What Minnesota is betting on is that he’s tapped back into some of his early promise while spending time overseas, which the numbers suggest he might be doing.
With the Lotte Giants, Goodrum slashed .295/.373/.387 which is trending in teh right direction from where he was when he left MLB. Something else to keep an eye on is how Goodrum was a double-digit home run hitter during his time with the Tigers, which is utility power the lineup could benefit from.
Temper expectations, though, as his full body of work in Detroit amounted to a less-than-stellar slash of .232/.306/.401, although his walk-rate in KBO was nearly 12 percent which is promising.
If he finds his way to the Majors, which is very possible, he figures to be among a platoon of utility players alongside Nick Gordon and Willi Castro. Kyle Farmer is still here, but it’s likely that he gets traded before Opening Day rolls around — another reason to keep an eye on Goodrum.
While it’s just a minor league deal, keep in mind that Donovan Solano was also signed to a similar deal last season and ended up being a critical part of the lineup. The Twins also nailed the addition of Michael A. Taylor, so there’s credit built up in regards to how well the deal for Goodrum might end up paying off.